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There were several well-deserved pats on the back in this week's mailbag - but also a brickbat . . .

VISITORS ARE MET BY EYESORE DEVELOPMENT

It’s easy to see why the residents of Bury St Edmunds’ Ipswich Street and the locale were against the Tayfen development, with a massive block overshadowing all the local streets.

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

The Ipswich Street end of the development is an absolute disgrace, rubbish, weeds, hoardings appear to be hanging off and with graffiti on them, the whole end of the development is an eyesore.

When visitors to the town have to squeeze through what looks like a tip on their way from the station to the town centre, it puts a very bad image on Bury, never mind what they think of the building itself.

Keith Apps, Bury St Edmunds

Tanya Utting – the Elmswell Elf
Tanya Utting – the Elmswell Elf

TANYA’S WORTHY OF RECOGNITION

I suppose that in such a small community as Elmswell, the identity of their mystery benefactor could only be kept secret for so long before his/her cover was exposed (Bury Free Press, December 24).

In my humble opinion, people like Tanya Utting, who has gone out of her way to bring a little unexpected surprise and happiness to so many people without any expectation of reward, are far more worthy of public recognition than all of the self-publicising multi millionaires put together. If nothing else, she (Tanya) has quite rightly been featured in the Bury Free Press, which – in itself – must give her some sense of – not sought after – satisfaction. I’m sure all the paper’s readers will join me in wishing Tanya and her family a very happy and healthy 2022.

Margaret Mellor, Bury St Edmunds

STATUE HONOUR SO WELL DESERVED

During the last 28 years working as a social research interviewer across Suffolk, Norfolk, East Anglia and beyond, I have often met many people who are supporters of Ipswich Town Football Club. It was easy for me, being born ‘over Stoke’, within the sound of the Portman Road roar, but I unexpectedly found Town supporters, even in Norwich.

There are always many memories, and the most positive and vibrant ones are those associated with the teams of Sir Bobby Robson, and the players who achieved so much.

So it was on a grey, damp and drizzling Saturday morning in Portman Road, Ipswich, a sizeable crowd, several hundred strong, gathered by the side of the home of Ipswich Town Football Club. All eyes were fixed on a stage and of a wrapped figure on a plinth, located equidistant between the existing statues of two former great managers – Sir Alf Ramsey and Sir Bobby Robson.

This was the event, choreographed by BBC Radio Suffolk and run by the station’s Mark Murphy, to celebrate the life of Ipswich Town legend Kevin Beattie, and to unveil the statue, erected in his honour, on what would have been Kevin’s 68th birthday.

The screen upon the stage started to show a documentary video presentation, narrated by Terry Butcher, on the life and times of ‘The Beat’, as Kevin was known.

Then, as the time for unveiling approached, Mark was joined on stage by Kevin’s daughter Emma, sculptor Shaun Hedges-Quinn, and Brad Jones.

Suddenly, just as the almost ‘mummified’ figure is about to be unwrapped, the drizzling rain stops. The covers come off, and a bronze Kevin Beattie, in a dynamic leaping action pose, is revealed.

There are gasps, huge cheers, rapturous applause and the song ‘There’s only one Kevin Beattie’ from the crowd – this is a fine representation of Kevin at his young athletic finest.

Regarded by many fans as the greatest ever Ipswich Town player, the statue places Kevin in the exalted company of Sir Stanley Matthews, Jimmy Armfield, Alan Shearer, Billy Wright, Bobby Moore, Sir Tom Finney and other fine England internationals.

A statue superbly crafted by Suffolk sculptor Shaun Hedges-Quinn, made possible by the donations of fans and businesses, and by a determined organising committee over three, sometimes long, years.

The statue, with its all-action representation of ‘The Beat’ places Kevin firmly in the company of Sir Tom Finney and Alan Shearer who are probably the only others depicted in this way. An elite group indeed.

There are memories and amusing anecdotes about Kevin the man from Ipswich Town legends including Terry Butcher, Russell Osman, John Peddelty, Brian Talbot, John Wark, Mick Mills, Roger Osborne and also by Kevin’s defensive partner, Alan Hunter - a partnership described as ‘bacon and eggs’ by Sir Bobby Robson. It was good the see former recent Town players Luke Chambers, Tommy Smith and also Jason Dozzell.

Throughout the whole proceedings the image of Sir Bobby Robson is looking down on the scene from the stand which bears his name, almost keeping a fatherly eye on his leaping ‘diamond’ and ‘colossus’ of a player.

As happened on his funeral day, the clouds part, and the sun briefly shines on the statue, giving it an other-worldly quality.

Everyone then stands for a while looking at the statue, to quietly contemplate, before leaving, the enormity of Kevin Beattie’s immense contribution to the history of Ipswich Town.

He is now there looking into his amphitheatre. A reminder, if it was needed, to the current team of the need to have determination to achieve results, and to be dedicated to the cause of a resurgent and mighty football club.

The Beat (will always) go on and be there. An eternal reminder of greatness, watching, waiting and inspiring.

As I walk back to my car, the bells of St Matthew’s Church are ringing, as are others across the town - it is almost as if they too are celebrating ‘The Beat’s’ inspirational return.

Writing this after the 1-1 draw with Sunderland and with a new manager, Kieran McKenna, appointed and in post, hopefully better times will be around the corner flag. I am sure that Kevin Beattie would wish that.

Graham Day, Stowmarket

THANK YOU MARTYN FOR YOUR INSIGHTS

I would like to thank through the letters column local historian and author Martyn Taylor.

Recently we have been spoiled with a ‘Double Header’ each week.

Martyn has a writing style that makes local and wider history very accessible, his encyclopaedic knowledge and his local insights make for fascinating reading.

As a ‘Bury Boy’, I look forward with anticipation to his well-researched articles. I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of talks given by Martyn and own a number of his books and his love for all things local shines through both in print and at his in-person events.

If you are fortunate enough to live in Bury, you have a wonderful historical heritage and Martyn helps us all appreciate that via his weekly columns, by understanding the past we can help craft a better future.

Pastor Bernard J Plume, Bury St Edmunds

STRIDE OUT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Like so many others, stroke has left a really devastating legacy on my family. My dad died of a stroke and his dad, my grandfather, had a major stroke which left him unable to speak again.

But many people don’t realise that the vast majority of strokes – around 80-90 per cent in fact – are preventable, which is why I’m supporting the Stroke Association’s Stride for Stroke campaign as my New Year’s resolution.

I exercise regularly, try to eat healthily and keep an eye on my blood pressure, which are all ways to help lower your risk of stroke – but there’s more we can all do…

So in 2022, the charity is challenging stroke survivors, their families or carers, in fact, everyone that’s affected by this devastating condition, to walk 1.3 million steps, that’s one step for every stroke survivor in the UK today.

I know that might sound like a lot but it’s actually the recommended 10,000 steps a day for 130 days, so it’s much more manageable when you break it down.

Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK and it changes lives in an instant. However, with our support, the Stroke Association can help more stroke survivors and their families find hope and rebuild their lives.

So come on, if you’re looking for a New Year’s resolution that will make a huge difference, why not take on the Stride for Stroke challenge? Sign up today at www.stroke.org.uk/stride

Thank you and Happy New Year,

Vogue Williams, Stroke Association supporter

-- Email your contributions to letters@buryfreepress.co.uk